Saturday, March 9, 2013

Shooting Star

I just stepped out of Starbucks, looked up at the twilight sky, and watched a meteor streak from the deep blue canopy of sky above toward the still-warm horizon and vanish. Larger and brighter than any other stars or planets in our night sky, it lasted barely long enough for me to hold my breath. Beautiful.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Royal Flush

A  friend recently posted on Facebook that his daughter's fish had died. She wanted to bury it at the beach, but since they don't live there, he was contemplating whether temporary storage in their freezer might be a solution.

This reminded me of college. My roommate/best friend and I had an aquarium where we kept black mollies and red swordtails. When fish died, she and I held flushing funeralsthe dorm equivalent to a burial at sea.

available under the Creative Commons 
At this time, we lived in an all girls dorm, but our floor had urinals in the bathrooms as well. We always took the newly deceased to a toilet stall, flushed, and gave a sad impression and a farewell to the fish as it swirled around the bowl and made it's final flourish of an exit to the watery abyss beyond the porcelain.

Then one day our male swordtail died, so we decided to be gender correct and use one of the urinals. We emptied our net of the remains, said our peace, and then pulled the silver handle. We expected a long goodbye like our previous experiences with the ladies' bowl, but that fish departed with a liquid equivalent of the Chernobyl blast. A sudden, giant WHOOSH erupted, not unlike the force of an industrial strength pressure washer, and that fish was gone. I mean vanished. We jumped back from the urinal both in shock and to avoid the after-spray of water and scales. We'd been robbed of our peaceful goodbye and startled out of our wits, and as a result we committed the ultimate funeral faux pas--we laughed.

Moral of this story? When in doubt, flush first.